Agent Resource Center

Monthly Agent Newsletter

March 2017

 
 

What are clients really looking for in a real estate agent? A recent J.D. Power study gives three insights that can help you stand out from the crowd.

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Gain insights into housing and economic trends that were explored in depth at the 2017 NAHB International Builders' Show (IBS), held this year in Orlando, Florida.

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Better Money Habits®, Bank of America's free online financial education program, now has even more to offer with a newly enhanced online and mobile experience for users.

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How to attract more clients

A recent study by global consumer research firm J.D. Powerfootnote1 revealed key insights into what drives customer satisfaction among homebuyers and sellers.

According to the study, here are three key areas to focus on to make sure you're providing the best possible experience for your clients:

1) Communication. For homebuyers, the most important element driving overall satisfaction was the level of communication with their real estate agent or salesperson. With that in mind, make sure that you are easily reachable by cell phone, text and email. And if a client leaves a message, get back to them promptly. Good communication may sound basic, but it goes a long way toward building your reputation — see number 3!

2) Premium marketing tools. An agent's ability to market effectively — such as hosting open houses or building a website — is key for clients who are trying to sell a home. Sellers reported the highest levels of satisfaction when agents could provide a listing package and when aerial photography was used to help market their home. If you aren't already using these marketing tools, now could be the time to start.

3) Reputation. Do you have satisfied — or better yet, delighted — clients? Ask them to tell their friends about you! You may also want to ask if you can include testimonials from them on your website and in other marketing materials. The study shows that first-time homebuyers and sellers rely heavily on word-of-mouth recommendations and on an agent's reputation when choosing who they want to work with, so make sure you're serving your current clients well and you're likely to reap the rewards of increasing referrals.

1Source: J.D. Power 2016 Home Buyer/Seller Satisfaction Study.SM

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Housing and economic outlook from the 2017 International Builders' Show

With tens of thousands in attendance, the 2017 International Builders' Show — held this year in Orlando, Florida — covered a lot of ground.

This year, Bank of America was proud to sponsor the first-ever Production Builders Lounge — a 4,500 square foot area located in the main level of the convention center. The lounge provided production builders a VIP springboard to experience the show. As the exclusive finance sponsor of this invitation-only lounge, Bank of America had ample opportunities to connect with the senior leaders of the top 250 home-building companies in the U.S.

"Our presence in the Production Builders Lounge gave us a remarkable ability to meet and get to know decision-makers in a casual, no-pressure environment," said Andrew Leff, National Accounts Executive of Bank of America.

Housing and economic outlook
As they perused the newest building materials and learned the latest way to market on social media, the housing outlook remained a primary concern for these senior representatives.

Insights into what this year holds in store for the overall economy, including mortgage finance and housing, were presented by Frank Nothaft, Robert Dietz and David Berson, chief economists from CoreLogic®, the National Association of Home Builders, and Nationwide Insurance respectively. A summary of their views includes:

  • Economic growth is forecasted to be between 2 and 2.25% in 2017.
  • Mortgage interest rates will rise, but the effect on housing demand may be minimal as job growth and wage gains offset the impact of higher rates.
  • Housing demand is predicted to increase. As supply of housing remains low, lean "for sale" inventories will drive up home price appreciation and rents.
  • The projected pickup in sales of newly-constructed homes may help ease the lack of supply.

During the wide-ranging Q&A portion of their presentation, the economists delved deeper into housing and homebuilding-related matters, sharing these insights:

  • In recent times, new home building has primarily served move-up buyers. But larger builders are starting to build smaller homes geared to the lower-priced market.
  • Expect growth in townhouse building among regional builders; townhouses appeal to millennials and there is a higher acceptance of housing density in many communities.
  • Given that older millennials are reaching buying age, getting married, having children, and experiencing increased job stability and wage increases, expect to see a decent increase in homeownership among this age cohort.

Overall, demographics are very positive for home sales this year.

Insights into the remodeling industry
Among builders specializing in remodeling, the consensus is that people are fixing up homes that they plan to stay in for quite some time. With housing inventory low, homebuyers are willing to buy what they can and renovate. (Buyers typically spend more to renovate after their purchase than is spent by owners who are preparing to sell a home.)

Note that:

  • Remodelers report that many clients prefer to self-finance their projects.
  • The most-desired renovations include larger, open kitchens for entertaining, modernized bathrooms and kitchen updates, as well as updated amenities and aging-in-place features.
  • Remodeling to accommodate multigenerational living is also rising in popularity. Mother-in-law suites for grandparents and finished basements for adult children are among the projects undertaken.

All of these insights are just a glimpse into the wealth of information presented at IBS this year. The conference is an excellent annual opportunity to connect and network with colleagues and friends in the construction industry while getting up to date on all the latest trends, technologies and more. We look forward to seeing you at IBS in 2018!

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Get to know the new and improved BetterMoneyHabits.com

Better Money Habits, Bank of America's free online financial education program, is designed to make complicated personal finance topics digestible with easy-to-understand videos and hands-on tools. And now, BetterMoneyHabits.com has even more to offer with a newly enhanced online and mobile experience that allows your clients to:

  • Choose how they want to learn by their stage in life, like starting their career or nearing retirement, or by topics of interest, like understanding how to buy a home.
  • Personalize their experience based on financial goals and what's most important to them. The more they engage, the smarter the program becomes in matching content that is particularly relevant to their needs.
  • Access a content library with more than 300 videos, articles, illustrative graphics and tools.
  • Find actionable next steps, access valuable information to help accomplish a financial goal and connect to a specialist who can help your clients get started.

Bank of America created Better Money Habits in partnership with Khan Academy, a nonprofit with the mission of providing a free, world-class education to anyone, anywhere. It's never been easier to learn about money, get valuable tips and tools, and gain the financial know-how your clients need. Visit the improved BetterMoneyHabits.com today.

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